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Walter Sorensen, Alcuin Head of School, Byron Sanders, Big Thought President & CEO, Melora Leiser, Big Thought Board Chair, and Berry Cox.

Supporters Gather at the Belo Mansion for Ann R. Cox Innovation in Education Award Presentation

Alcuin School, a leader in Montessori and International Baccalaureate® education, hosted its fourth annual Alex Podeszwa Scholarship Luncheon and honored Byron Sanders, President and CEO of Big Thought, and Melora Leiser, Big Thought Board Chair at the Belo Mansion on Oct. 24. Sanders and Leiser were recognized for their leadership at Big Thought, a Dallas nonprofit which strives to ignite the imagination of children through accessible educational programs that reinforce core academic curricula and help develop 21st century skills.  

The event was highlighted by the presentation of the Ann R. Cox Award for Innovation in Education to Sanders and Leiser. The Ann R. Cox Award was given by her son Berry Cox to recognize her belief in innovative education and her support of Alcuin School during its early years.

Special guests included Edwin L. Cox, along with his daughter-in-law Jeanne Tower Cox and grandsons, John and Justin.  Also acknowledged was scholarship recipient for 2018-2019 Emily Kim, Alcuin junior, and 8th grader Gregory Cushing, who received the inaugural Global Citizen Award.

During the presentation, Cushing gave heartfelt remarks in which he shared that “Alcuin is not only a school, it is a place where kids can learn to be the best they can be.”

“We not only have excellent teachers who provide a great education, but they also provide moral lessons, leadership opportunities and independence to go outside of the box and address our individual curiosities,” said Cushing.  “For me, Alcuin has been a place that accepts me for who I am and allows me follow my true passions in education. The teachers and students are all supportive of my decisions and cheer me on all the way.  I love to learn about the world and it is a place that ignites that passion.”

David and Niki Campisi served as hosts for the event and introduced special guests David and Ann Podeszwa who shared reflections on their son’s life and legacy. Other major sponsors included:  Edwin L. Cox and the Berry Cox Family Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Chase Murray; Dr. and Mrs. David Podeszwa; and MYCON.

Alcuin's 2018 Scholarship Luncheon benefits students in need of financial assistance via the Alex Podeszwa Legacy Fund.  The fund was established in memory of this inspiring Alcuin student who lost his battle against cancer in 2014.

The luncheon drew more than 200 supporters and raised nearly $90,000 for the scholarship fund.  The total legacy fund is more than $400,000 which will continue to grow each year to assist deserving students.

“Alex will always embody Alcuin’s spirit and mission,” said Walter Sorensen, Head of School.  “His legacy as a compassionate global citizen and big thinker is far-reaching and will provide scholarship assistance and other endowment funding to enrich and enhance the programs that he loved so well during his time at Alcuin.”


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